Posts tagged ‘Tampa’

Good Gourd Almighty – Cigar City Brewing


First of all, we’d sincerely like to grant you our thanks and wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving, and whatever holidays you might celebrate in the coming months. Rounding out our third year of reviews you’ve made us popular enough that we are buried in beers to cover, and since they’re becoming more and more scare on the shelves, we have opted to cover them in advance for next years season in hopes of bringing you more consistent coverage and getting you a lot more info early on as these brews start to hit the shelves.

Today’s entry is not particularly concerning in that regard as, if you don’t have it by now, you’re probably not going to get it until next year. But we did feel it’s coveted status would be a great entry for today, and we thank the almighty that we got our hands on a bottle. So gather round your friends and family, or maybe just a good meal and a good brew, and dig into one last seasonal review. From us to you, we give our thanks.


Name: Good Gourd Almighty

Place of Origin / Brewer: Tampa, Florida / Cigar City Brewing

Beer style / ABV%:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale / 8.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:

Almighty takes Cigar City’s ever popular Good Gourd (an imperial pumpkin ale that includes Ceylon cinnamon, Jamaican allspice, Zanzibar cloves, and nutmeg) and finishes it out for some time in rum barrels.



This is a special release barrel aged treatment beer, so the label is a bit derivative of it’s father brew, Good Gourd. It’s got some nice dark wood and autumn hues though, which certainly infer the bolder wood flavors I expect from this glass. – Mike

It’s not a far cry removed from the traditional Good Gourd packaging, but the “almighty’ stands out in a big way to help avoid confusion, settled against a backdrop of fall leaves, that even though CCB is in Tampa and probably never sees any ‘color’ still sets a festive mood. – Tim


Color: 7

The way this beer sits in the glass demands omniscience. Fully opaque burnt caramel has fringes of an amber glow, with slim to no head. It is awesome and unassuming. – Rick

Cloudy brownish orange, with a perfect circle of thin semi sticky lacing and little to no carbonation. It looks like there is almost a freeze frame of sediment floating in the glass. – Brittney

M – 6.5 / T- 7 / B- 6 / R- 8.5


Aroma:  7.5

A heady nose with massive rum notes, the likes of which I haven’t seen since we cracked the Avery Rumpkin back in 2011. Oak and vanilla finish out the bouquet which displays no remaining signs of pumpkin or spice.  It smells intense and I’m not anticipating a little ‘shiver me timbers’ to go with my rum and pumpkin ale. – Tim

Sweet and creamy caramel notes mingle with some intense buttery fruit flavors. This is getting pretty complex already. It has a hot aroma that singes with rum at the nose, rounding out dry and oaken for the finish. – Rick

M – 7.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 6.5 / R- 9


Mouth feel: 8

Slick and thick, medium bodied with just enough carbonation to keep you interested without an overwhelming presence of it. – Brittney

Some time in the barrel actual seems to have lightened up the body here, moving away from the syrupy origin of Good Gourd, and becoming much more smooth bodied with a light carbonation tingle. – Mike

M – 8 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 8.5


Tasting notes: 8.5

Spiced Rum, treacle, dark fruits, and milk chocolate. This tastes a good bit like a Dale Degroff tropical pumpkin cocktail with a few extra dashes of Pimento Dram. It’s caramel coated pumpkin bread – beach side. – Mike

Welcome back pumpkin, what is lost on the nose is prevalent in the body, blending together with vanilla and cinnamon to deliver a drunken pumpkin pie extravaganza. With buttery crust notes and big malt flavors, the rum is held in check (but only barely) until the exhale permeates all my senses with full bodied flavor.  Pass the whip cream. – Tim

For as strong and intense as it smells it’s actually rather smooth in flavor.  You can tell that it’s got a Good Gourd foundation, but you can’t help but focus on the rum barrel aged accent and the alcohol. – Brittney

Based on the aroma alone I expected this to be super hot and over the top. It actually brings out complex flavors that really add to the experience going above and beyond the senses. It’s really accessible while boasting tons of flavor like banana, oak, cinnamon, rum, sugar, butter, all spice, and even bits of clove. – Rick

M – 8.5 / T- 8.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 9.5


Finish: 8.5

The finish is all rum, but it is hardly abrasive. It reminds be heavily of Velvet Falernum. There is a lasting sweetness with a spicy nip, and a bite of citrus / lime. Definitely a Floridian pumpkin beer. A couple of these and I’ll be boarding ships. Forcibly. – Mike

The dry oak finish compliments the mouth feel so well, it removes any implication of being too hot due to a high alcohol content. There’s still a touch of heat on the back end and the rum is quite noticeable. – Rick

M – 9 / T- 8 / B- 8 / R- 8.5


Flavor balance: 8

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 8

The pumpkin and spices in the base beer were already mixed really well, and the fact that they still stand out after the aging is impressive. I would add that the addition of oak and rum flavors accentuate the pumpkin profile and propel this beer into it’s final form. – Rick

The interplay of the spice / malt / pumpkin / wood / and rum here is powerfully complex and very enjoyable. You can spend long minutes over each sip musing on the different flavors that seem to pop out and retract into the recesses of this glass. The only thing that keeps me from declaring it truly divine is how very forward the rum qualities are at times. It’s not an unpleasant flavor, but as the drink goes on, I begin to lose a bit of the pumpkin as a result. – Mike

M- 8 / T- 8 / B- 8 / R- 8

         Sweet / Dry balance: 8.5

Quite balanced in this respect as the syrupy slickness and pumpkin tend to be sweet but the alcohol/barrel aged aspect brings the dry finish. – Brittney

Pronounced toffee like sweetness lend this ale a significant dessert aspect with only dry components coming on the close from the high ABV and the oak. – Tim

M- 8.5 / T- 8.5 / B- 8 / R- 8.5


         Multiple Drinkability?  7.5

While I can appreciate treatments on beers and a bit of barrel aging, I probably wouldn’t drink much more than a glass of this. It’s got a very mellow sweetness that is well tempered by tannic acid qualities and the heat of the rum, but the intensity and alcohol makes it quite potent on the senses. – Brittney

It’s too heady and boozy to be sessionable. I’d rather drive up to some mountains, kick off my shoes and sip this sucker in a brandy snifter beside a roaring fire after a long day of snowboarding.  – Tim

M- 9 / T- 7 / B- 4 / R- 10


Overall: 7.92

M- 8.00 / T- 7.83 / B- 6.92 / R- 8.83


Gourds of Thunder Festive Ale – Cigar City Brew Pub (Tim Ogden)

Gourds of Thunder WEB

Today’s offering comes from a, not so secret anymore, hot spot on any tour of Florida’s many blossoming and popular breweries. Nestled just a short way up the road from the old cigar factories of Ybor City(and closer still to their big brother), we find our destination: The Cigar City Brew Pub. Featuring a menu that stresses local farm to table offerings heavily influenced by Tampa’s Cuban and Italian populations, and of course, it’s own house brewed beer specialties (along with featuring many from Cigar City, and the new Cigar City Cider & Meadery), it’s pretty much a must stop lunch destination. House Brew Master Tim Ogden is no slouch either. Those familiar with Cigar City’s much sought after offerings will be more than familiar with two of their more popular offerings that he developed: “Tocobaga Red Ale” and the notorious Skate Park of Tampa Collaboration “Moat Water” (a 100 rated sweet stout brewed with actual moat water from the skate park and aged on skate decks). Suffice it to say, the man has the credentials to deliver (along with a grand champion award from the 2012 National Beer Tasting Championships). So, what we’re trying to say is, you should probably stop by if you’re in town.


Name:  Gourds of Thunder Festive Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Tampa, Florida / Cigar City Brew Pub (Tim Ogden)

Beer style / ABV%:  Pumpkin Black Ale / 6.3%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Gourds of Thunders stays true to the Cigar City Brew Pub Farm to Table mission, and features heirloom local organic calabaza pumpkins and butternut squash, along with chocolate rye, dark chocolate, coriander, allspice, and other spices. It is fermented with Tim’s go to house Belgian yeast “Forbidden Fruit”.



I like the simplicity of this label. Boom, it’s in your face with the brewer’s logo and the beer’s name jumping right off the bottle to greet you. – Rick

This is a pretty basic label as the ale is not brewed for mass release.  A brewpub exclusive, it’s only available on tap or in bottles sold in the pub itself.  Intended to be paired with the gastro-pub fare served in their flagship location, the bottle features the standard Cigar City logo with a little side note giving the chef  and brew master a little love. – Tim


Color:  9

This beer pours a super dark espresso color with a small, smooth, creamy head. It’s picturesque and iconically represents how a dark beer should appear. – Brittney

Anyone familiar with Cigar City’s Marshall Zhukov Imperial Stout knows this color well. I took the Led flash on my phone and held it directly on the glass. Nothing. It’s midnight, in a cave, in the furthest reaches of space black. The only hint of color is the head, a deep brown of roasted almond skin. – Mike

M- 10 / T- 9 / B- 8 / R- 9


Aroma:  8.5

The nose is chocolate and vanilla, coffee and breakfast pastries; this serves a dual purpose, making me both equally hungry and thirsty. – Tim

The aroma that I’m getting here is roasted malt, espresso, dark chocolate and pumpkin. There is a smell of spices that I can’t really place, but not your usual pumpkin pie spices, there is something different going on here. – Brittney

M- 9 / T- 8 / B- 8 / R- 8


Mouth feel:  8

Super smooth, yet it still retains a full body with a creaminess that helps it glide right over the tongue. I am actually both impressed and surprised by the smoothness. – Rick

Heavy cream thickness, like liquid silk. If you ran your motor oil for 50,000 miles and then filtered it back to it’s original viscosity, you’d have something like this. It’s about as full bodied as they come. – Mike

M- 9 / T- 8 / B- 7.5 / R- 8



Tasting notes:  9

There is a hefty dominance of chocolate and spice on the forefront here. Like, 98% cacao dark chocolate on the nasal retro hale after your first sip. I like the interplay of the spicing, and would be curious to see the Tim’s list of secret additions. It plays somewhere between thanksgiving dinner and exotic Indian cuisine flavors. It’s decadent, and as your mouth adjusts, butternut squash and floral yeasty coriander notes battle their way through the huge bitter roast Clash of the Titans style. – Mike

For some reason, brewpub exclusives tend to be the domain of mad scientist potions, and this ale is no exception.  It has to have one of the craziest spice profiles of anything I have had in a very long time.  It reminds me primarily of my mother’s homemade Thanksgiving stuffing, with significant notes of celery, cumin, rye seed, fenugreek, an d even a little iron (courtesy of chicken liver in the stuffing – and I don’t know what in the Ale!).  Masses of dark chocolate notes and dark roasted malt accentuate the caramelized pumpkin and squash.  It’s a meal in a glass. – Tim

When you first taste a beer in the environment that it is brewed in, magic happens. And then you immediately buy three bottles of it.  I’m a firm believer in so much more than our taste buds creating how something tastes.  Both taste experiences were top notch; The beer at the brew pub seemed to be a little sweeter and less earthy. The bottle pour is more vegetal and bitter which is welcome in a world of sugary pumpkin pie in a bottle beer.  Fresh tomatoes on a vine, espresso crusted anything, and bitter, bitter dark chocolate. – Brittney

Full bodied with all the right aspects of an imperial stout, I’m loving the dark chocolate and espresso backbone. There is something fruity also that seems to be black cherry, and at first I thought there was some banana, but that quickly subsided. – Rick

M- 9.5 / T- 9 / B- 8 / R- 10


Finish:  8

This beer is in your face, big time. There is a solid 10 seconds of dark chocolate finish, and then a nice clean vanilla yogurt aftertaste that leaves the mouth dry. – Mike

Finish is smooth and dry with the chocolate presence being strongest here. There is a slight bitterness at the end, but just barely noticeable.  It may also have a hint of vanilla bean lurking around here. – Rick

M- 8.5 / T- 7.5 / B- 7.5 / R- 8.5


Flavor balance:  8

         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 7.5

The gourd is all roasty and dense; the spice profile is insane with a level of complexity that I don’t think I’ve yet experienced in pumpkin ale. I feel like there is a laundry list of ingredients in this ale (one I’d like to see), but nothing overpowers anything else—although you can see it trying. – Tim

I would have to say that even with so many other factors of flavor here, the pumpkin and spice give each other enough room to display themselves without competing with one another. – Brittney

M- 8 / T- 7.5 / B- 8 / R- 6

         Sweet / Dry balance: 7.5

The great finish here really helps balance the sweetness by drying it up. At first it seems as dry as freshly ground espresso. As parching as crushed roasted cacao beans. It takes some time, but the sweetness eventually shines through. – Rick

The ABV is on the low end, and thus the ale carries sweetness in the body and bitter notes in the finish, which trails on for quite a while. – Tim

M- 7 / T- 7 / B- 8 / R- 8

         Multiple Drinkability?  8.5

You try not to remember that multiple servings are sometimes not an option when it comes to Cigar City specialties and just thoroughly enjoy what you can get your hands on. – Brittney

If this is what you get when the gods are angry, then I am calling Thor out as the pretty boy dandy he is. It’s punishing to the senses. It will fatigue your tongue. And you will keep coming back because, let’s be real, you like it rough. Thank you sir may I have another? – Mike

M- 10 / T- 7.5 / B- 6 / R- 10


Overall:  8.42

M- 9.08 / T- 8.16 / B- 7.75 / R- 8.58

Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale – Cigar City Brewery

A few things; First off, I will be getting married this Saturday, and leaving for my honeymoon the following monday. Fear not though, we haven’t forgotten about you loyal readers. While I haven’t had the time to make these reviews as graphically intensive as some of the past. (trust me, no ones more disappointed than me, but the show must go on), we have been painstakingly drinking ourselves into oblivion so that the blog will stay regular while I’m away. Tim will be taking over the publishing reigns while we’re gone, but I promise, if I come across any interesting pumpkin brews in the UK, you’ll be the first to know.

Secondly, here in Florida we’re fortunate to have a number of awesome micro and small batch brewers, and at the forefront of that batch is Cigar City, who in their great wisdom, has decided to grace us with a local pumpkin brew all our own. Read on to see what we thought of it, and if you see it on shelves, snatch it up. When it’s gone, it’s gone.


Name:  Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Place of Origin / Brewer: Florida, USA /  Cigar City Brewing

Beer style / ABV%:  Imperial Pumpkin Ale / 8.5%

Specialty Prep / Individuality: Featuring Pumpkin, Ceylon cinnamon, Jamaican all-spice, Zanzibar cloves and nutmeg, Good Gourd touts itself as a celebration of Fall and Halloween in particular, warding the evil spirits away from their pumpkins, to provide nothing but the best. It’s also our second brew to featuring pairing suggestions including pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie and costume parties.



Good gourd boldly defies the pumpkin beer emblem tradition, instead opting for a more autumnal look with oranges and red abounding, and falling autumn leaves on a cream field. And of course, the trademark cigar city logo. – Mike

This label looks like going to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving and for that alone, I love it.   Being from the subtropical state of Florida we rarely get to see leaves change color, that’s why I have a quizzical take on Tampa, Florida’s Cigar City incorporating them into their bottle.  Based on the brewery name, I might have anticipated tobacco leaves chancing color, but I’ll take what I can get. – Tim


Color:  7.5

This ale has a full bodied darkish orange, leaning towards brown, coloration.  It’s like looking through liquid cinnamon, and appears very opaque.  The huge head quickly resides and leaves really nice lacing.  – Rick

Burnt caramel with an impenetrable opacity, this seems to be in strong keeping with Cigar City’s other brews. You can potently visualize the gravity of this one. A tremendous head and long lasting lace crown the package out. – Mike

M – 8.5 / T- 7 / B- 7 / R- 8.5 / E – 7


Aroma:  5

Hops greet the nose, together with a mixture of spices (all spice, cinnamon).  Unique in that other pumpkin brews have been wary of introducing much of anything in the way of hop character. – Erich

I’m really at a loss for aroma, the beer’s there but I don’t really get much to make it pumpkin or spice, it seems more like an Oktoberfest. – Brittney

This is an odd bird, there is almost nothing happening on the bouquet right off the bat.  A few swirls and a little aeration release a few tell-tale beer signs, but little if any indication of the autumn goodness in the bottle. – Tim

M – 4 / T- 4 / B- 5.5 / R- 4.5 / E – 7


Mouth feel:  6.5

There’s no bite from the carbonation, but a noticeable sting from the alcohol content.  Overall, it feels light and airy over the tongue.  This is where the initial sourness hits you, but it’s not too off-putting. – Rick

Robustly bodied, with an immense creamy front end, and a surprising lack of astringency. It demands to be savored. – Mike

M – 8 / T- 5 / B- 6 / R- 7 / E – 7


Tasting notes:  6.5

The feel of this beer is almost clouding to to the palate. It’s complexities seem to note brown sugar, that trademark cigar city tobacco note, and cinnamon, with just a dab of pumpkin rounding everything out. It’s excellent, but if you put this down in front of me, I’m not sure I could honestly tell you it was a pumpkin beer without the power of suggestion. The pumpkin does really seem to emerge more at about half a glass, and as the temperature rises closer to room. Contrarily, it could easily stand up in body alone to and actual cigar. This one is a pleasant enigma for me. – Mike

There’s a slight dark malt bitterness (coffee/dark chocolate notes) that are followed by a hint of vanilla and sweetness, with various spices singing backup and rounded out by well-controlled hops.  This is a complex brew and delectably so – well-balanced and with a galaxy of flavors to explore, except for what should be the star, the pumpkin.  Amidst all the other flavors finding the pumpkin is akin to “Where’s Waldo?”.  It’s a shame – as with other great pumpkin beers that have put the “beer” first – a little more pumpkin in this would’ve made it sublime. – Erich

It definitely has a gourdy profile, but isn’t sweet like pumpkin is traditionally thought of.  It starts off sour, then you find some smoky aspects in there, and finally, with an exhale the sweetness is revealed. – Rick

There is a lot going on in this beer.  Fresh pumpkin, nutmeg, vanilla. It’s buttery and floral with bready yeast notes, and what could best be described as ‘pie crust’ in there.  It’s sweet but not cloying and the caramel malts are profound and a little unsettling.  With everything happening here, I feel like I want to love this, struggle to like it, and resign myself to feeling that the beer is just not in harmony and is pulling me in too many directions. – Tim

M – 7 / T- 5 / B- 7.5 / R- 5.5 / E – 8


Finish:  7

It’s not until the finish that I really catch the cinnamon, but that’s what lingers for me.  It’s a nice conclusion that reminds you that you don’t need to be slapped in the face to enjoy good pumpkin ale. – Brittney

The vanilla notes from the initial flavor endure, leaving a sweet but not-too-sweet finish. – Erich

Clean with a touch of that same caramel – brown sugar sweetness again. I get the pumpkin here more than anywhere else. The higher alcohol content seems to sit nicely with a sharp hops nip on the backside, but all in all, this is impressively smooth. – Mike

M – 8 / T- 6 / B- 7.5 / R- 6 / E – 8


Flavor balance: 5.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance:

For a beer that so ‘all over the place’ it’s hard to say anything is in agreement here.  It’s got spice and it’s got pumpkin—that sets it apart from most, but with everything pulling against everything else, the brew isn’t going to win any bi-partisan votes from me. – Tim

It’s a tad spicy, but I keep thinking of fermenting gourds when I drink this brew that it overwhelms the spices here. – Rick

M – 4 / T- 4 / B- 5.5 / R- 4.5 / E – 4

–         Sweet / Dry balance:  

Sensibly sweet, balanced out with the right kinds of bitterness. – Erich

Everything seems to coalesce so smooth in this one, that it seems to become one heady beast of a beer, with a backhand of Newtonian slam. – Mike

M – 8 / T- 5 / B- 5.5 / R- 5 / E – 8

–         Multiple Drinkability?

This is a dangerous beer, because if it captures your imagination, it’s masking its 8.5% ABV very carefully and I promise you that could lead to a serious hangover in the morning.  One and done for me. – Tim

The multitude of flavors may leave one’s tongue a bit fatigued, that’s if the 8.5% ABV doesn’t catch up to you first.  The Good Gourd is clearly meant for slow savoring, not consumption in large quantities. – Erich

M – 9 / T- 5 / B- 6.5 / R- 5.5 / E – 5


Overall:  6.33

M – 7.08 / T- 5.33 / B- 6.58 / R- 6.08 / E – 7.08